Nauticam NA-A7 Underwater Housing for Sony A7, A7R, and A7S
Camera, lens, and port, not included; shown for illustrative purposes only.
The NA-A7 ships with Nauticam's new vacuum system with integrated electronic vacuum and leak detection monitoring system for extra piece
of mind. A simple coded LED lighting system lets the user know that the watertight integrity is solid. The NA-A7 ships with a bulkhead port for installing the optional vacuum valves.
The integrated vacuum check and leak detection system adds extra assurance of watertight integrity. Use it without an optional vacuum valve and it serves as a audible/visual water ingress detector. Add the vacuum valve, and get watertight integrity indication via a color coded LED light.
The NA-A7 Housing
The new housing for the A7 delivers on the promise of the A7: Full frame camera - small package. A new port system was designed for this camera... the SLR port opening was too large, meaning that the housing would be too large, and the existing mirrorless system port opening is too small for some of the lenses expected in the new Sony FE lens lineup. So, a new line of intermediate size ports is required.
The housing and new port line would not be complete with the patented Locking Port Release system, which, like it does on other Nauticam housings, utilizes a unique internal bayonet system that locks the port securely without twisting or misalignment. The iconic red lever is easy to operate and lets the shooter know immediately that the port is securely locked in place. The user friendly housing latches are here as well, making this housing exceptionally easy to put together.
The NA-A7 includes a pre-installed Nikonos style 5-pin bulkhead with universal hotshoe connection (x and ground connection only) installed, enabling manual control of the most commonly available strobes.
Key NA-A7 Features:
SLR Styling with Handles Built In:
The housing is designed to be used with the shooter's hands on the handles, ergonomically placing the camera controls at just the right spot for easy use. No extra tray/handles to buy!
Laser cut stainless steel brackets reinforce the handles, making the rig sturdy and stable even with large strobes or video lights. Mounting balls are included, ready to attach strobes, video lights, and more.
EVF Viewfinder Options:
For shooters wanting to take the ultimate advantage of the excellent OLED EVF in the A7, the renowned 180º Enhanced Viewfinder or the excellent 45º Enhanced Viewfinder are available. It takes less than a minute to change these viewfinders and no tools are required.
Rubberized Zoom/Focus Knob:
The new zoom/focus knob is now rubberized to make gripping easier and more comfortable. Nauticam is the only housing manufacturer offering over-molded, rubberized parts.
Like previous Nauticam handles, the built-in NA-A7 handles get the rubberized treatment that so many shooters have come to enjoy.
Despite the small size, this is a very easy housing to operate, even with gloves on. Every control is placed where a underwater shooter wants it - after all, the design team are underwater photographers themselves and strive to make every Nauticam housing the most ergonomic available. Each control, whether it is to change aperture or shutter speed, access the autofocus lock, change ISO, or even play back, is given consideration to minimize movement and make shooting easier.
Of course, the sort of quality and robustness that has become synonymous with the Nauticam name is present with this housing as well. Milled from solid aluminum, the housing is depth rated at 100m and built to last. Exceptional care is taken to reduce any possibility of galvanic corrosion, and the housing is hard anodized to stay looking great after years of use.
The Sony Alpha A7 and A7R Cameras
Sony surprised the camera world 4 years ago by packing an APS-C sized sensor into a very small camera body. That camera was called NEX-5, and it helped usher in the age of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Now they have done it again by packing a full frame sensor in a body that is only slightly larger than the popular NEX-7.
There is so much to be said about the Sony A7 and A7R that it would take many pages to cover, but for underwater shooters, there are some key features that make these cameras stand out. The full frame sensor and very high image quality are just the beginning. The fast and accurate autofocus of the A7, the high pixel count of the A7R (though A7 is no slouch at 24 megapixels), bright, high resolution XGA OLED EVF, and 60p HD video will appeal to discerning u/w image makers.
The patent pending EVF/LCD switch allows a quick way to alternate between using the large bright LCD display or the high resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF). The housing ships with a standard .66x viewfinder for the EVF, which is easily swapped out for either of the two Nauticam Enhanced Viewfinders.
One interesting technical feature that Sony touts about these new cameras is a processor based algorithm that seeks to reduce the effect of diffraction on image quality when the aperture of the lens is stopped down. Assuming this works as Sony indicates, this could be useful for shooting macro with very high apertures, i.e. f/22 and above.
Choosing between the A7 and the A7R may be the most difficult part of looking at this new system. Which one? Sony sums it up like this:
The a7 is an excellent choice for a wide variety of shooting applications, and allows photographers to enjoy the benefit of full-frame photography in circumstances that would be challenging for other full-frame alternatives. The a7R is an excellent choice for photographers who require the very best image quality and resolution, and are willing to follow the workflow steps sometimes necessary to take full advantage of this level of resolution.
Nauticam, together with Zen Underwater, supports more lenses for more cameras than any other manufacturer of underwater gear. For the NA-A7, a new port system is being introduced to make sure that the port lineup matches this new class of camera. Initially, two native lenses are supported, the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, and the excellent Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA. As Sony releases more lenses for this system, Nauticam will support all of the lenses that make sense for underwater use. In addition, a DSLR port adapter, Nauticam 37301 is also being developed which will allow certain Sony A series lenses to be attached via LA-EA3, and more lenses will be supported via adapters.
While there are not a lot of native EF lenses available, the lenses that Sony, in combination with Zeiss, have released are excellent. LensRentals.com does a lot of sophisticated lens testing, and recently published a blog with some interesting observations about the performance of the A7 with the FE 35mm f/2.8, along with some testing of other lenses using adapters. Here is one snippet from the blog post:
Just in case you missed that, the Sony A7R with 35mm f/2.8 lens shot at f/2.8 outresolved the Nikon D800e with either the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G shot at f/4 or the Zeiss 50mm f/2 shot at f/5.6. Stopped down to f/4 to even the playing field, the Sony was clearly higher. In fact, the only lens-camera combinations we’ve seen with that kind of MTF50 is the Zeiss Otus 55mm mounted to a D800e. That did leave me with a question, though. Is the lens that great? Or is the camera that great? Or is it the combination?
Nikonos Lens Support:
Perhaps the most exciting news is the inclusion of a Nikonos adapter, Nauticam 37201, for this rig. Finally, the Nikonos lenses of legend are back, mated with the same sized focal plane that they were designed for. With a high quality 24 or 36 megapixel sensor recording either stills or video, new life is being breathed in to lenses like the Sea&Sea 12mm fisheye and of course the legendary Nikonos 15mm.
Nauticam supplies a wide range of optional accessories that make the rig very customizable. For example, Nauticam’s NA-DP4 housing for the Small HD DP4 Monitor can take video performance to another level by rendering the video image in a position more amenable to the shooter. The monitor housing easily mounts to the top of the NA-A7 and utilizes the optional HDMI Bulkhead for true HDMI connectivity. Utilizing DP4 features like Focus Peaking, Focus Assist, False Color, 1:1 Mapping and more, this larger monitor vastly improves composition, focus capability and exposure. Nauticam produces a “straight” 180º enlarging viewfinder and a 45º angled enlarging viewfinder to enhance the ease of close quarters work often associated with macro shooting. Both viewfinders have high quality optics allow viewing of the entire image. A patented external dioptric adjustment allows personal adjustment to a sharp-as-a-tack standard underwater and viewfinder changes can be executed in less than 30 seconds without using tools. Exceptional composition and focus accuracy have never been more accessible.
Optional accessories available for the NA-A7:
- 180º Enhanced Viewfinder
- 45º Enhanced Viewfinder
- Monitor Housing for SmallHD DP4 Monitor and Atomos Ninja-2 Recorder/Monitor
- Full line of mounting accessories for lighting, including mount balls, strobe adapters, arms, clamps, and specialty items
- Multiple styles of lanyards
- Lens holders, including flip-up
- Vacuum Check Valves
- Nauticam Super Macro Converter
The Bottom Line
The Nauticam housing for the Sony A7/A7R is the smallest full frame interchangeable lens underwater rig available. The image quality from the camera is second to none, and the ergonomic NA-A7 is the ideal vehicle to take this camera system deep into the underwater realm.
Depth Rating: 100m
Weight: 2.4 kg
Dimensions (with handles mounted): 320mm x 170mm x 110mm